Safety 2016, what an experience! The American Society of Safety Engineers national conference in Atlanta proved to be one heck of an event. A conference and expo of this size is few and far between for me. Since starting my consulting/training business, I’ve kept to the local Colorado and Wyoming events.
If it’s not obvious, you should know that my “ninja” lessons are most often wellness tips that act as a reminder of how to care for your body are perfectly applicable for ANY large business convention.
Ninja Lesson 1: Wear proper footwear & take the stairs
I was warned up front by some lovely ladies of WISE that there would be a LOT of walking, so I made sure I packed appropriate shoes. Unlike fitness conventions like IDEA and NSCA where you can jet around in athletic shoes, this conference was business casual. I mostly wore flat sandals with a heel strap so my toes wouldn’t grip too much. Someone mentioned they carry flip flops for walking between sessions, but I’m fully aware of what flip flops do to your feet so a strapped-heel sandal was my choice. I knew enough to pack my tennis ball to roll my feet at the end of the days & in the mornings and it was well worth it!
Many folks around me had some sort of fitness/step tracker and they reported we were getting around 14,000 steps each day. I think the highest I heard about was 20K steps. I know this is a LOT of walking because I was doing the same walking however, many who know me know I’m not a big fan of counting steps as a measure of fitness & health levels. I don’t believe walking all day on a hard surface in improper shoes equates to being healthy, especially with some of the gait patterns I saw, ouch!
To break up the walking, I take the stairs as often as possible to get more action in my glutes, quads and core. I even threw in a few cartwheels. Activating more muscle groups increases circulation and helps build muscle endurance. This also equates to more calories burnt so I don’t have to be super strict with things like dessert, win-win.
Ninja Lesson 2: Meal Plan when possible
It is good to plan ahead and know what meals will be included any conference you attend. At Safety 2016, lunches were included and there were evening receptions with light party foods, but breakfast was not included. Since breakfast is so important and our morning keynote sessions began at 7:30am, I made sure to pack along my protein powder and shaker bottle. I like to use milk in my protein shakes and because I can’t stand to waste money on things like room service, I befriended a couple servers at the hotel restaurant who hooked me up with a to-go glass of milk each day. It’s good to get to know the right folks and use a smile with good manners because it just might get you some extras like a banana…score.
Ninja Lesson 3: Recover
Even though I took the stairs and stretched whenever possible, all that time on my feet in flat shoes was tiring! At the end of the day, I utilized my favorite go-to for anyone who is on their feet all day…10-15 minutes on the floor with the legs at 90-90. As you can see from my photo, my hotel room had a good chair for this, all I needed was a flat pillow added under my lower legs. If you find your knees really want to open wide as you relax, try using a belt around the knees to hold the thigh bones straight while you relax. Take some deep breaths and relax, this is a trick to help realign the spine and pelvis.
I hope you find these lessons helpful for your next big conference. It’s a good thing to take care of your body so you can have enough energy to learn, network and explore. You may even have enough energy to get to the evening socials in order to witness your peers break out some serious karaoke or jump on stage to bust out their rapping skills! Good times.